If this album had been released in the late '90s, Edie Carey would have found herself as a part of the Lilith Fair circuit. Her sensitive singer/songwriter style fits right in alongside such female folk-pop performers as Paula Cole, Dar Williams, and Shawn Colvin. However, Carey isn't just another English major turning her diary into songs. She displays a true skill at exploring the ways relationships affect the heart and mind. Her whispery voice is particularly good at conveying emotional vulnerability. "Anyone can see my heart is reeling," she sings on the opening number "With Our Hands," which sets up the disc's examination of how people deal with heartache. "Wide Open" takes on an obsessive mood as the protagonist wonders "if I drive by your house tonight, what would I find?" The melancholy-dipped "Already Gone" counsels that "love should not drag you down or beg you to stay." Carey tackles the weighty issue of her parents' divorce on "If I Start to Cry" so poignantly that her pain is palpable. Not every tune, however, is an emotionally heavy number. The radio-friendly "I Need You" is an exuberant declaration of love. It definitely is one of the disc's standout songs. Besides displaying lyrical wit and musical vibrancy, it is also one of few up-tempo tunes here. Carey does try to compensate for the predominance of sad, introspective songs by infusing the arrangements with a bit of twang. A banjo enlivens "With Our Hands" and "Chemistry," while a pedal steel reinforces the sense of loneliness in "Already Gone." While Carey travels down the familiar singer/songwriter path of dissecting broken hearts and busted relationships, she finds some fresh, and moving ways to express her feelings in song. When I Was Made stands up impressively with the albums that the Lilith Fair crowd has produced.
AllMusic Review by Michael Berick